How to Care For Caladium Plants

How to Care For Caladium Plants

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Caladiums – with their enormous, multicolored leaves that vary in color from delicate whites to vivid pinks and lush greens – are the perfect plant to bring a bit of tropical drama to your home or garden. Native to South and Central America, caladiums are relatively easy to care for once they receive the basic conditions of their native home environment. Namely, humidity and heat.

Show these perennials some hot and humid loving and you can enjoy their stunningly veined, striped, and papery leaves both as a houseplant or as the perfect foliage plant in a bed or border. You’ll quickly discover why caladiums are also known as heart-to-heart plants or elephant ears and are one of the best outdoor tropical plants to have in your garden.

So, if you want to enjoy the tropical drama of bright and bold caladiums, look no further than this guide to caladium bicolor care! Read on to discover how to grow caladium outdoors or the best heart to heart plant care for a stunning houseplant display.

Or, for more inspiration on big flowers you can include in your beds for a sensational and show-stopping garden exposition, read our guide to the best big flowershere.

How to care for a caladium

If growing caladium outdoors for a tropical-themed garden display, take care to plant its tubers in the spring. Caladiums like to be warm and so for the best care to ensure this plant’s survival, it’s important to wait until any threat of frost is over and day and nighttime temperatures have risen. You want to plant these perennials when daytime temperatures are at least 70° F and nighttime temperatures are above 60° F. 

If you’re living in a colder climate, it is a good idea to grow your caladium plants in pots, as the soil can warm up faster and remain so during colder snaps. You can also bring your containers indoors to keep them toasty. Keep reading to learn how to care for caladiums in pots.

Related posts: How to Keep Plants Warm in Winter  

Can caladiums grow indoors?

While a tropical perennial, caladium as a houseplant can be a winning addition to your home provided it has the right care conditions. 

Caladium plant care indoors is dependent on ensuring the plant gets enough heat and light. Rooms that are humid, with sauna-like conditions, are the best place to grow caladium inside. That’s why bathrooms and sunrooms are the perfect rooms to care for your caladium as they are warm spaces that receive a lot of bright but indirect light and usually have high humidity.

When caring for a caladium indoors, it’s important to keep it away from draughts or areas where there are dramatic changes in temperature.

Do caladiums go dormant indoors?

Yes, caladiums go dormant indoors just as they do outside. It is natural for this perennial to undergo a rest period after blooming for a few months. This means its foliage will naturally die back in autumn or winter and remain in rest until the spring.

When this happens, stop watering and allow the leaves to wilt. Once they begin to grow back in the spring, take care to begin watering once more and watch your caladium rebloom brighter than ever!

Now, whether growing caladium outside or as a houseplant indoors, here’s everything you need to know about how to care for it.

Caladium light requirements

The amount of sun exposure your caladium will need depends on whether you’re growing it indoors or outdoors. Inside, at least four hours of indirect light will keep your plant happy and thriving.

Caladium leaves are delicate and it’s important to take care they don’t get sunburnt, as exposure to too much direct light can scorch them. For example, for caladium moonlight care, it’s best to place this plant a few feet away from a window when growing indoors to prevent too much sun exposure.

Related Post: How to Revive a Fiddle Leaf Fig

In general, a good rule to remember when caring for caladium as a houseplant is that the size of the leaves affects how much light it needs and can withstand. Remember, the wider the leaves, the less light they can tolerate. This is why larger-leafed varieties are typically found in shaded gardens.

Outdoors, caladiums do best in full to partial shade. This, alongside their sumptuous and impressive multicolored leaves, is why they are often a popular choice for shaded gardens.

Related Post: Annual Shade Plants

Soil requirements

Caladium plants thrive in well-draining soil that is rich and slightly acidic.  You can use potting mix if planting in containers.

Water requirements

Watering is one of the most important parts in caladium care. Take care to keep the soil moist and never let it dry out while the plant is growing. Once your caladium enters dormancy and begins to die back, you can stop watering while it rests. Once winter has passed, begin watering your caladium again with care to get it growing back for spring.

Related Post: How to Water Plants While Away


Feeding your shrub with a liquid soluble fertilizer every fortnight will ensure it can produce luscious and strong foliage as well as enough tubers to last for the following growing season.

Temperature and Humidity

Finally, as a tropical plant, it’s little wonder that caladium care relies heavily on ensuring it receives enough moisture and stays warm enough. To adequately care for your elephant ears, ensure it gets temperatures of roughly 70° to 85° F during the day and drops no lower than 60° F at night. Keep it in a humid environment or recreate humid conditions by using a humidifier or misting your plant frequently for a similar effect.

Once you meet these care conditions, maintaining your caladium couldn’t be easier. This is why it is often considered one of the easiest tropical shrubs to have in a garden - as well as one of the most beautiful. Discover more low-maintenance shrubs for a tropical garden in this tropical landscaping guide.

The benefits and beauty of caladium also extend beyond its function as a houseplant or shady border shrub. Its heart- and arrow-shaped leaves make a sensational addition to any floral arrangement and will last upto three weeks in a vase if cared for properly (check out our guide to making cut flowers last longerfor some essential tips!)

Include your leaf cuttings in a homemade arrangement, display them in a vase of their own, or request them when ordering your favorite flowers from a delivery service like SendFlowers or a subscription package like EnjoyFlowers DIY bouquets. There truly is no end to the many ways you can enjoy the colors, patterns, and foliage of these tropical, large-leafed beauties. So go on, get planting!

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